Coast Guard to accompany Mackinac race fleet

Chicago – The Chicago Yacht Club announced today that two United States Coast Guard cutters will accompany a fleet of over 400 boats during the 100th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, presented by Lands’ End Business Outfitters. 2008 marks the 100th running of ‘the Mac,’ the world’s longest annual freshwater sailing distance race, which will leave Chicago’s lakefront on July 19, 2008.

As in prior years, Cutter Mackinaw will accompany the fleet to Mackinac Island. Commissioned in 2006, Cutter Mackinaw is the second Great Lakes Cutter to be so named. She is the largest Coast Guard Cutter serving on the Great Lakes and is designed to support all Coast Guard missions, including aids to navigation, icebreaking and law enforcement. Cutter Mackinaw is 240 feet in length, and carries nine offices and forty-seven crew members. Mackinaw or her predecessor have accompanied the Mac fleet for decades.

This year, CGC Mobile Bay will also accompany the record-breaking fleet. Commissioned in 1978, Cutter Mobile Bay serves as an icebreaker during the winter months. She performs a variety of Coast Guard missions, including servicing aids to navigation in the spring and fall, and search and rescue and law enforcement, during the summer months. Cutter Mobile Bay is 140 feet in length, and carries three offices and fourteen crew members.

‘We are absolutely delighted to have the United States Coast Guard as part of the 100th Race,’ Greg Miarecki, chairman of the Mackinac Committee, remarked. ‘Skippers and crews alike value the Coast Guard’s participation in this event. Especially in challenging conditions, it is good to know that our Coast Guard friends are keeping an eye on us. We look forward to having Cutters Mackinaw and Mobile Bay with us again this year, before, during, and after the Race.’ Miarecki added.

Commander Scott Smith, the skipper of Cutter Mackinaw, will provide a pre-Race safety briefing at the traditional skippers’ meeting, held on Friday, July 18 at 1700 hours. Commander Scott Smith remarked ‘While we are looking forward to the challenges and excitement a race like this one delivers, the safety and welfare of the race crews will be the focus of the entire team of Coast Guard units ready to assist. Although the Cutters Mackinaw and Mobile Bay will be escorting the fleet northward, Air Station Traverse City and CG Auxiliary will be providing air support and the Coast Guard Stations along the race route stand ready to assist as well.’

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